Thinking ahead to 2013 (2012 can't end quick enough) I've been pondering a few things, mostly business things... not just ways to keep the pennies rolling in & keep food on the table, but also how to make myself (or rather, my stuff) more accessible.
One thing I've thought about are the various eBook formats. I've avoided them to date for a few reasons: a) the de-formatting is quite sole destroying, and of course charts and photos don't always translate so well; b) I'm pretty anti-DRM and the whole idea of buying into a specific format for a specific reader doesn't rest easy with me; c) PDFs work on all readers - it's the only true cross-platform eBook format, although I know they aren't as optimised as specific formats on certain readers.
Kindle, for instance, is one place I'm looking at. They've improved their payment process for indie authors (man, I could not be doing with at least 3 different cheques each month because I'm a non-US author) and while they price cap by reducing royalties on publications outside of a specific price range (my eBooks for example would fall outside of that range and I'd only get 30% from each sale, instead of 70%) it does seem like it would work for simpler patterns (i.e. few or no charts) and may be better suited to single patterns or smaller collections/bundles (i.e. those that fit within the optimised price range).
Smashwords is another option, and they take a single file and technically distribute it the various eReader formats, and pay a single amount from all of those (easy on the admin, that. And at 60%, it's a better royalty rate than Kindle for my eBooks). The deformatting is essentially the same, so an eReader ready file would work for both Kindle and Smashwords, which halves the additional work.
So I thought I'd ask - how do you feel, as a mobile device/eReader user, about the usability of PDFs on your device? Would you welcome a pattern or book in a format specific to your device? Would you expect the content of a specific eReader to be exactly the same as the PDF equivalent, albeit in a different format? Or would you be willing to compromise over content and price? (i.e. a cheaper version with smaller charts, or no charts at all?) (personally I'd prefer to keep the content and price the same across all formats but welcome discussion & suggestions) Or maybe you've tried the Kindle/eReader route for your patterns and can share some insight?
There's a lot of work involved and don't want to charge ahead without giving it a fair amount of consideration. I can't help feeling as if I'm missing out, or that my customers are missing out, by not being open to those formats and those markets, despite my apprehensions (especially the DRM issue). It also feels like a particularly commercial move, as well an initially time consuming one, and would really like to be certain that it's a worthwhile thing to do.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts!